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O.C. woman, ex-NFL-player lover to be sentenced in 1994 murder

May 18, 2012 |  8:50 am

An Orange County woman, Nanette Packard-McNeal, and Eric Naposki, a former NFL linebacker -- both convicted of plotting the 1994 murder of her wealthy Newport Beach boyfriend, part of an apparent effort to cash in on the man's $1-million life insurance policy -- are to be sentenced

An Orange County woman and a former NFL linebacker -- both convicted of plotting the 1994 murder of her wealthy Newport Beach boyfriend, part of an apparent effort to cash in on the man's $1-million life insurance policy -- are to be sentenced Friday.

In January, a Superior Court jury in Santa Ana found Nanette Packard-McNeal, 46, guilty of murder with special circumstances for murder for financial gain.

Prosecutors said Packard-McNeal conspired with her lover, former New England Patriots linebacker Eric Naposki, to kill businessman Bill McLaughlin, 55, with whom Packard-McNeal was living, in December 1994.

In a separate trial, Naposki was convicted of killing McLaughlin. Both are expected to receive sentences of life in prison Friday, and relatives of McLaughlin are expected to address the court during the hearing, officials said.

Portrayed as a femme fatale and manipulator, Packard-McNeal was living with McLaughlin and spending and stealing his money while dating other men, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Matt Murphy said Packard-McNeal had to kill McLaughlin because it was only a matter of time before he realized she was cheating on him or stealing his money.

Packard-McNeal's attorney, Mick Hill, argued that his client had the perfect setup with McLaughlin -- he was rich, was largely absent and owned a nice home -- and she wouldn't want to ruin it by eliminating him.

The slaying had been one of the more perplexing unsolved homicides in Orange County until Naposki and Packard-McNeal were arrested in 2009.

The ex-football player, who at the time of the slaying was working as a bouncer at the Thunderbird nightclub in Newport Beach, was accused of entering McLaughlin's home with a key Packard-McNeal had provided and then shooting the victim six times in the chest.

McLaughlin’s 24-year-old son, upstairs at the time of the shooting, told police he heard the shots and then found his father's body. He said the intruder, however, was gone.

McLaughlin's violent death shocked the normally quiet Balboa Coves community where he was a fixture. The businessman was well known in medical circles after inventing a prototype blood-filtering device for collecting plasma.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Eric Naposki listens as Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy offers his closing statements during the former NFL player's 2011 murder trial in Santa Ana. Credit: H. Lorren Au Jr. / Associated Press

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